Interviewing the Owner
Hey everybody! Today, I thought I would feature an interview that Julia Stisser reached out to me for, for a paper she was writing for one of her school courses. Here is her final paper! - S.T.
Stephanie Tuba is a 22-year-old college student who runs a business called Tarabusi Creek, an online store of skin care and bath products made with simple ingredients at low prices. Though she has plans to obtain a Bachelor of Administration in Accounting, apply for graduate school, and prepare for the CPA exam, Stephanie plans to always stick with her business, one day turning into a brick and mortar establishment. She describes it as a tool to “push her through” and encourage her to keep going. The business has been operating for several years, and can be found at www.tarabusicreek.com, showcasing both extensive product lines and even a blog.
Stephanie describes her family as having been extremely supportive of her business ventures. She grew up in a household with two incredibly successful parents who made it clear she was able to pursue any interests she may have had. Her mother and father both have college degrees, a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, respectively. She describes herself as having grown up very privileged to have two parents who set her up to succeed in life. Additionally, she stresses the impetus her parents put on personal finance and the importance of saving money, which she is very explicitly thankful for, stating, “[My sisters and I] have been privileged to learn how to manage ourselves as adults from an early age.”
Products and Target Market
Tarabusi Creek’s products are a variety of skincare and bath products designed to be affordable and extremely high quality. To this effect, Stephanie says, “My company was founded on the idea that everyone of every age should be able to afford good skincare products, and that they should be simply made.” She describes her target age group as Millennials/Gen Z, being that she herself falls into that age group and can mostly closely relate and understand. One of the unique things about her business is that she has no target income level, since her products are so affordable, anyone of any income level should be afford high quality skincare products and she prices them as such. Stephanie modestly denies that her products are superior to others, but says that her overall goal wasn’t to out-do all other brands, but to make her target age group feel confident and beautiful. She describes her branding as simple color schemes with easy-to-read ingredient lists. She uses very simple recipes with nourishing ingredients that everyone can get on board with.
Stephanie speaks candidly about her most prevalent challenge: money. In 2015, Tarabusi Creek operated at a $3,000 loss due to strategically attempting to re-formulate many of the products. Unlike many widely available brands, Tarabusi Creek’s products are made without animal products, with a pronounceable ingredients list; such information can be found on the business’ website.
Because of this, prime formulation using a limited amount of product possibilities proved to be both taxing and expensive, but worth it. 2016 was both a year of roughly breaking even and “ramping up” marketing strategies to become a larger and more well-recognized business. Turning a profit of $12,000 in 2017, Tarabusi Creek was still operating at a loss of $300. Stephanie says that this year they will focus on getting more capital assets to increase productivity and improve formulation in the hopes of turning a significant profit.
Beyond the monetary challenges of owning your own business, there are the daily struggles that many people will never see, a process Stephanie calls, not for the faint of heart. She says that it will, “break your spirit at times and cause you to reconsider what's important and what isn't.” Beginning a business takes time and energy that the entrepreneur may be used to spending with friends and family, doing other activities, or in this case, schoolwork. Stephanie is unique in the fact that she is both a full-time college student and works full-time on her business. She describes this balance as “delicate,” since both schoolwork and customer orders need to come first. However, she says that despite all of the challenges, starting Tarabusi Creek has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on her life. She accredits much of the level-headedness to the strength of her support circle, that of her parents, sister, and boyfriend.
Stephanie is a very level-headed individual with a clear plan for her future. She is transparent about the difficulties that starting your own business can incur, specifically how difficult it is to begin to turn a profit, that it typically doesn’t happen in the first year of business. She has a successful company with a clear mission statement, branding approach, and marketing plan. While she is extremely modest about the success of her business, how highly she talks about her customers and how much she loves what she has created – and continues to create – shows just how proud she is of how far she has come since beginning Tarabusi Creek.
I hope you all enjoyed this extremely well written (and flattering!) interview on the name and face behind Tarabusi Creek! Julia definitely painted me in a very positive light, and I can't thank her enough for reaching out to me. I was extremely humbled to have been asked to help her with this assignment, and am very appreciative of the time she took to turn my raw answers into a functional piece. Thank you, Julia! -S.T.